Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a gram-negative intracellular diplococcibacteria isolated by Albert Neisser in 1879, but it has been known in ancientGreek times through the writing of Galen. It causes the sexually transmitted infection(STI) gonorrhea. CITE N. gonorrhoeae is an obligate aerobe that grows best athuman body temperature, roughly 35-37 degrees Celsius.
The bacterium’sreservoir is within humans only, though only a few species cause illness inhumans. N. gonorrhoeae is also the second-most common STI in Canada, withAlberta showing an 80% increase over the 2014-2015 time period, with thehighest increases being among young Indigenous females and homosexual males. AHS,3Sexual transmission is possible through vaginal, anal, ororal sex and may be prevented through the use of barrier protection. Neisseriagonorrhoeae’s incubation period is 1-14 days, with most becoming symptomaticwithin five days.4 Transmission from mother to child may occur duringchildbirth, and may be prevented by antibiotic treatment of the mother beforebirth and the application of antibiotic eye gel on the eyes of the newborn.
1,4 It is important to note that after a gonococcal infection, infected personsdo not develop immunity to future infections. Reinfection is possible due to N.gonorrhoeae’s ability to evade the immune system by varying its Opacity (Opa) surfaceproteins, which are part of the bacterium’s outer membrane.5Neisseria gonorrhoeae can cause inflammatory infection at thesite of entry into the body, including the genitals, throat, and eyes. Infectedindividuals may be symptomatic or asymptomatic, with women being more oftenasymptomatic than men. Symptoms include urethral or vaginal discharge as wellas painful urination in men. If the bacteria is introduced to the throat orrectum, localized pain, itching and inflammation can result.BOOK Untreatedinfection may spread to the rest of the body causing a variety of tissuedamage, most notably sterility/infertility depending on sex of the patient.
Blindness can also occur if passed on from mother to newborn. 4 Diagnosis is through culture, gram stain, or polymerase chainreaction (PCR) of a urine sample, urethral swab, or cervical swab.BOOK Due toresistance to penicillin, current treatment in Alberta is with a drug cocktail consistingof ever-increasing doses of azithromycin, cefixime and ceftriaxonethe.
(AHS) Antibioticresistance is a growing problem due to N. gonnorhoeae’s recombinant abilitiesas mentioned above. There is currently no vaccine available for N. gonorrhoeaealthough efforts are underway to develop one.4 Because it is possible tocontract gonorrhea multiple times from the same partner notification andtreatment of sexual partners is highly recommended.